Sunday 29 March 2020

Ms Marvel #1. This Woman, This Warrior!

Ms Marvel #1
You could never accuse this site of ignoring that new-fangled Women's Lib that's so fashionable now that we're in the 1970s.

Having already tackled the savage She-Hulk and sensational Spider-Woman ("To know her is to fear her!"), I'm now looking at that other battling female Marvel gave us in that period.

That's Ms Marvel, yet another book launched to prevent the company's lawyers having nightmares.

The She-Hulk and Spider-Woman books were not exactly classics, so, how does Ms Marvel's measure up?

It's New York and a bank robbery's underway.

But not for long because barely has it started than a brand new heroine flies in to smash teeth and fling cars around.

She's so new that and no one has a clue who she is - including herself.

Ms Marvel #1, car lift
And what she also doesn't know is those bank robbers are a mere distraction, hired so the Scorpion can sneak in round the back and rob the bank himself.

Next, we meet Carol Danvers, former head of security at Cape Kennedy, who's in the process of landing an editorial job at the Daily Bugle. And the first thing J Jonah Jameson wants her to do is write an expose of the brand new heroine.

No sooner is that agreed to than she bumps into Mary Jane Watson, invites her to her flat and promptly has a funny turn which leaves her telling her guest to leave so she can pass out on her bed in mysterious circumstances.

But there's no time for us to dwell on that because the Scorpion's back - and he's kidnapping Jonah!

And Ms Marvel's back as well! Her psychic powers having tipped her off, in advance, about the kidnapping, she sets off to free the publisher and bring the Scorpion to justice.

Ms Marvel #1, punch the Scorpion
Once she locates him, a one-sided fight erupts and poor old Scorpy finds himself flung into the acid vat he'd prepared for Jonah.

Suitably alarmed, the villain flees, Jonah's unscathed, our heroine decides to call herself Ms Marvel and the day is saved.

But, back at work, showing his usual gratitude, Jonah demands Carol work even harder at exposing the terrible truth about Ms Marvel, as he's more convinced than ever that she's a deadly menace.

But just who is Ms Marvel? Why is Carol Danvers in the habit of blacking out? And just what is the mysterious link between the two women? What? What? What?

Ms Marvel #1, J Jonah Jameson dangles, prisoner of the Scorpion
I would say that, in terms of feel, this is a comic which slots neatly between the She-Hulk's and Spider-Woman's.

As with Spider-Woman, more thought seems to have been put into the central character and her quandary than was the case with She-Hulk. However, the mood of the comic's more conventional than Spider-Woman's, making it seem closer to the She-Hulk's.

The main thing that strikes me about this issue is it feels like we've walked in halfway through it. Ms Marvel already exists, though we're given no idea how long she's been around for. She may have been in existence for months or appeared literally seconds before the splash page.

We also get a very familiar character in Carol Danvers but she's suddenly in an environment and a role some of us have never seen her in before.

Ms Marvel #1, J Jonah Jameson haggles
Because of this, I've had to check with Wikipedia to see if Ms Marvel turned up as a guest in another book before this one launched but it seems the splash page of this issue really is her first-ever appearance.

I'm not sure if we're supposed to be as baffled by the link between Carol and Ms Marvel as Carol and Ms Marvel are, as you'd have to be pretty stupid not to realise they're the same person.

Ms Marvel's 7th Sense is a total cop-out. It means that any time she needs answers, she can just call on it to provide them. A perfect example here is how she finds the Scorpion's hideout just by a picture of it appearing in her head. It may make things easier for her but it also makes things far too easy for the writer who can just get away with taking any liberties with it that he wants to.

Ms Marvel #1, Mary Jane Watson, headaches
Speaking of writers, it's penned by Gerry Conway who seems to be struggling a bit to make it all cohere and it's drawn by John Buscema who's in his Workmanlike Pro mode.

Overall, I'd say it's not a comic that exactly demands you rush out and buy the next issue. Ms Marvel feels like too much of a black hole, as a character, for that, we've all seen JJ's hero-hating routine once too often, and the mystery of the link between Carol and Ms Marvel isn't a mystery, so that's not exactly likely to hook you either.

It also has to be said that that is one of the worst costumes any super-heroine has ever been lumbered with.

And I say that as someone who's seen every outfit Supergirl put on in the 1970s.

Items of possible further interest:

Thursday 26 March 2020

March 26th, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

For any lover of great music, perhaps the biggest tragedy of the Coronavirus pandemic has been the cancellation of this year's Eurovision Song Contest.

Obviously, as a disaster, the cancellation of Eurovision is only a slightly lesser catastrophe for music than the contest actually going ahead.

But there were no such concerns on this night of four decades ago. Preparations for that year's competition were progressing strongly, with BBC One broadcasting A Song for Europe in which the UK's entry was chosen.

We all know Eurovision 1980 itself was won by Ireland's Johnny Logan, launching a trend for the Republic to win so often that they ended up deliberately trying to lose it by entering a glove puppet but that doesn't mean Britain's entry was overshadowed.

No, because the nation had a cunning plan.

And that was to wow judges and voters alike with Love Enough For Two by Prima Donna, a band made up of Kate Robbins, Jane Robbins, Sally Ann Triplett, Danny Finn, Alan Coates and Lance Aston.

They were definitely a band with a pedigree.

Lance was brother to Bucks Fizz's Jay Aston, Danny was a former member of the New Seekers, and Kate Robbins was Paul McCartney's cousin.

As Jane Robbins was Kate's sister, I assume she was also Paul McCartney's cousin.

Sally Ann Triplett was, of course, two years later, a member of Bardo who represented Britain in Europe, with their song One Step Further which bore a noticeable and suspicious resemblance to Manfred Mann's cover of Blinded by the Light.

It's hard to believe anything in any comic could stand comparison to drama on that scale.

But let's see if it does!

spectacular spider-man weekly #368, dr octopus

Spider-Man's on a boat and up against a man who's in a bad mood because he's lost one of his mechanical tentacles.

Meanwhile, the Sphinx now disposed of, Reed Richards sees-off the threat of Galactus by pretending to have built his own Ultimate Nullifier.

Galactus believes him and recedes quickly into Outer Space, thanks to the Watcher's assistance in the deception.

It's always good to see Uatu rigorously sticking to his vow of non-intervention.

star wars weekly #109

That is the most impassive-looking bunch of floating heads I've ever seen on the front of a comic.

Then again, perhaps they're merely looking unimpressed by my total lack of knowledge of what's happening inside it.

Doctor Who Weekly #24, Daleks, the Robot of Death

The Fourth Doctor's still dealing with whatever problems it is the Star Beast is causing.

You can win a poster by colourising a black and white picture of the first four Doctors.

We take a look at various robots the Doctor has had to thwart.

We get more of Marvel's adaptation of First Men in the Moon.

And we're treated to a text adaptation of the First Doctor's tale Galaxy Four.

Incredible Hulk #56, Iron Man

It's the question we've all asked since the early days of Marvel; "Who'd win a fight between the Mandarin's pointless robot copy of the Hulk and Iron Man?"

And now, at last, we're going to get the answer, as those two comic book titans clash.

No, I'm not totally sure why Mandy has a robot copy of the Hulk but he does - and he's unleashed it from its crate.

Come to think of it, I wonder who'd win a fight between it and the robot Hulk from The Eternals?

Then again, didn't the Thinker build a robot Hulk in Fantastic Four #100?

And Dr Doom built one in Incredible Hulk #143.

What is it with super-villains and robot Hulks?

Elsewhere, the Surfer's still in the future and self-pityingly gunning for the man who wrecked the universe.

The Beast's single-handedly foiling the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

And a whole nation celebrates as the Defenders have finally succeeded in rescuing Jack Norriss from Scorpio!

When I say, "Rescued," I mean Scorpio's killed himself in a fit of depression, leaving Jack free to leave of his own volition.

I'm not sure what the Black Knight's up to but I'm sure it's thrilling.

And I think the real Hulk's in the process of beating-up Sasquatch.

Marvel UK, Chiler Pocket Book #1, Dracula

But this is it! As predicted by Sean in the comments section, mere days ago, the launch of a brand new comic!

Admittedly, the Chiller pocket book didn't necessarily come out this week but it did come out this month.

And it heralds the imminent arrival of a whole slew of similar books Marvel UK will launch in this period, and which are almost as hard to put a date on as anything published by Alan Class.

But what's in it?

Some very very late Tomb of Dracula action featuring the Domini/Janus storyline, and also a Satana tale, written by Chris Claremont, that's reprinted from Marvel Premiere #27.

Sunday 22 March 2020

2000 AD - February 1982.


Do you like them?

Do you spend your free time in them?

If so, you'd have loved February 1982 because, in that very month, something was stirring.

Something weird and green and fighty.

No. It wasn't Kermit!

It was The Swamp Thing!

That's right, this was the very month in which the cinematic version of that comic book monster hit our big screens and the world would never be the same again!

Personally, I prefer Return of the Swamp Thing but, for the sake of this post, I'll pretend I don't.

And that wasn't the only legendary film unleashed upon us that month because it also saw the release of Death Wish II and Quest For Fire, neither of which I've ever got round to watching yet.

But what was happening on the UK singles chart while films I'm not that fussed about were being unveiled?

The Jam were happening.

They were celebrating what I believe was their third Number One, with the Motown-inspired A Town Called Malice.

The grumpy trio almost held on for the whole of the month but, in the very last week of it, they were dethroned by Tight Fit's cover of The Lion Sleeps Tonight.

You have to hand it to the early 1980s, it was a musical era that was nothing if not eclectic.

Over on the album chart, things were far simpler, with Barbra Streisand's Love Songs holding the Number One spot for the entirety of the month.

The Jam, Tight Fit and Babs were being highly successful but the following organisations weren't because February saw the collapse of London-based Laker Airways - leaving 6,000 stranded passengers and debts of $270 million - and the DeLorean car factory in Belfast. Now how was Marty McFly supposed to travel through time?

In the pages of 2000 AD, we were still getting Ace Trucking Co, Tharg's Future Shocks, Mean Arena, Nemesis the Warlock, Rogue Trooper, and Judge Dredd's Apocalypse War.

As though those regular features weren't enough to spoil us with, Prog 252 gave us a tale called The Hume Factor but I don't have a clue what it was.

I also have no idea what the cover of Prog 252 has to do with Nemesis the Warlock.

2000 AD, Prog 250

2000 AD, Prog 251, Ace Trucking

2000 AD, Prog 252

2000 AD, Prog 253

Potential further exploration:

Thursday 19 March 2020

March 19th, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Are there times when it seems to you like popular music has hit the rocks?

Well, on this night in 1980, it literally did when the MV Mi Amigo ran aground and sank in the Thames Estuary.

That mattered to music fans because it was the ship from which legendary pirate station Radio Caroline operated and the calamity forced the station to cease broadcasting. It would be another three years before transmissions would resume.

But, if a famous radio station was no longer broadcasting, the UK charts survived unassailed and, that very week, the Jam entered the UK singles chart at Number One, with Going Underground, giving them the first of their four Number Ones.

The Jam were a famously angry-sounding band. In fact, Paul Weller's ability to be grumpy about every single thing he ever encountered during that phase of his career is a thing of wonder to me, even now.

Over on the British album chart, things were a little more relaxing, with Johnny Mathis suddenly ruling supreme, thanks to his LP Tears and Laughter which succeeded in holding off Marti Webb's Tell Me On A Sunday.
Incredible Hulk Weekly #55, Sasquatch

Sasquatch decides to dangle Bruce Banner off a cliff, to make him turn into the Hulk, so he can discover which of them is the stronger.

I think we can guess what the answer to that one's going to be.

The Black Knight and Merlin have seen off the would-be invaders of their castle - but, now, that castle's in danger of plunging into an abyss, thanks to the damage done in the fighting!

The Fantastic Four are still having their first encounter with the Hulk. Will they ever discover the truth about Karl Kort?

Starting to shake of his amnesia, the Beast has begun to recognise the truth about his new allies the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

The Silver Surfer's travelled into the far future, to escape Galactus' Space Barrier but has found nothing save a universe in ruins.

And, for the nine millionth week running, the Defenders are still battling to rescue Jack Norriss from Scorpio.

Spectacular Spider-Man Weekly #367, Dr Octopus

I do believe that cover's adapted from a panel that originally featured in the tale which brought us the death of George Stacy.

Speaking of deaths, inside the comic, Peter Parker's worrying about arranging Aunt May's funeral, even though the book's already printed the story in which he discovers she's still alive.

If that was confusing to readers at the time, they could, no doubt, take reassurance from the fact that the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor and Daredevil were still present in the comic.

Star Wars Weekly #108

The contents of this one are mostly a mystery to me but the cover boasts of it containing four great strips.

I know one of them's a Star Wars tale and I also know the book is still giving us the origin of Star-Lord.

I would assume the other two strips feature Deathlok and a tale of the Watcher but I cannot guarantee that.

Doctor Who Weekly #23, Cybermen

I can, though, guarantee The Star-Beast storyline's still going. As predicted by Sean, in the comments section, the other day, the strip is yet to shake off this mortal coil.

We also get a text history of UNIT.

We get a quick report about former companion Victoria Waterfield.

We get more of Marvel's adaptation of First Men in the Moon.

We get more of the text adaptation of The Time Meddler.

And we finish off with a Steve Moore/Steve Dillion strip called Ship of Fools which seems to involve a spacecraft named after The Flying Dutchman.

I predict stormy seas ahead.

Sunday 15 March 2020

Spider-Woman #1. A Future Uncertain!

Mere weeks ago, I took a look at the pulse-pounding debut of The Savage She-Hulk, the comic which proved women could smash things up too.

But She-Hulk wasn't the only female imitation of a male Marvel superstar to receive a comic of her own in that era.

We also got the start of a brand new series for Spider-Woman, brought to us by the dream team of Carmine Infantino and Marv Wolfman.

As the cover blurb informed us, to know her is to fear her! And, let's be honest, there are some who fear the writing of Marv Wolfman and the art of Carmine Infantino.

But what of me? Can I survive such three-sided terror, with my sanity intact?

We start with Spider-Woman hanging from a ceiling in a deserted London supermarket, at night, contemplating whether to steal from it, having not eaten in days.

No sooner has she decided not to lower herself to such robbery, than an agent of SHIELD, called Jerry, tries to arrest her for shoplifting, on behalf of Scotland Yard.

She gives him the slip - but not before he's seen her face and declared that he recognises her.

Actually, he says something along the lines of, "Your lovely, lovely, beautiful, gorgeous, magnificent face! I've seen it somewhere before!" I am paraphrasing there but it gives you an idea of the sort of thing Jerry from SHIELD likes to blurt out.

She declares it to be impossible for him to recognise her and rapidly returns to her rented hovel to bemoan her lot as an unemployed super-heroine who no one likes because, being half spider, they find her disturbing.

A lengthy flashback then tells us she's Jessica Drew, daughter of a scientist who wanted to inject us all with spider serum so we can survive the pollution and radiation the future's guaranteed to bring us.

Happily for the story, he wasn't a lone lunatic because his best friend was the man who'd go on to become the High Evolutionary and, when little Jessica started to die from radiation sickness, thanks to the massive quantities of uranium that lay beneath their base in Wundagore, her father injected her with his spider serum while the High Evolutionary started super-evolving her until, after several years, she became half-woman and half-spider.

Now living in London, she spends her time agonising over her life, failing to get a job and repulsing everyone, with her latent air of spideryness.

But, as it happens, roaming around the city again, she sees Jerry fighting a bunch of criminals armed with laser guns and she quickly puts a halt to their activities.

But it's all too late for Jerry who's been lasered, good and proper.

So, she rushes him to the hospital, gives him a transfusion of her blood and flies off, leaving him to lie in his bed and, not at all creepily, declare that he wants her as he's wanted no other woman!

I thought issue #1 of Black Goliath was depressing but it's nothing compared to this. Our heroine really is in a wretched situation and it seems to be getting worse with every moment. She has no family, no friends, no sense of identity, no sense of purpose, no food, no money, everyone hates her for reasons they don't seem to know, and the law is after her.

There are strangenesses to all this.

For instance, just why is a SHIELD operative guarding a supermarket while on secondment to Scotland Yard? I can only assume Hydra's been a bit quiet lately.

Also, Jessica decides to dye her hair black, so Jerry won't recognise her if he sees her again but, at the same time, she alters her mask, making her hair visible. Thanks to this, if Jerry ever does see her again, he'll be able to spot, at once, that she's changed her hair colour, ruining the whole point of her changing it.

Also, how exactly is she paying her rent?

I have to say it, Marv Wolfman's script is terrible. No one talks like the people in this comic talk and Jerry, who I assume we're supposed to like, comes across as a weird, stalkerish madman. Try as I might, I think I'm going to have serious trouble accepting him as Spider-Woman's Steve Trevor.

Carmine Infantino's art is fairly heavily buried beneath Tony DeZuniga's inks, so it looks noticeably more stylish than it often did during this phase of his career.

So, has knowing Spider-Woman caused me to fear her?

Well, not really.

I just feel a sense of hopelessness for her.

And that's probably my problem with the book. It's certainly more interesting than that first issue of She-Hulk but it's such a downer that I'm not sure I'd want to read any more issues of it.

Then again, there is a part of me that's curious to see just how it goes from here and whether this aura of misery and depression is maintained or if it's quickly abandoned for something less offputting.

Items of possible further interest:

Thursday 12 March 2020

March 12th, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

BBC Two is an oft-ignored channel, having traditionally been the home of intellectuals and those who like cooking but there's no denying that on this night in 1980 it was the place to be.

Not only did we get Michael Woods setting off In Search of Arthur, we got another episode of Flash Gordon, in which Flash rescues King Vultan, even as Princess Aura sets out to capture Dale.

As if that wasn't enough, the station's arts documentary series Arena was giving us Rudies Come Back or The Rise and Rise of 2-Tone, as Adrian Thrills investigated the then-current chart success of Ska music and the tiny record label that lay behind it all.

But it wasn't only music lovers in Britain who had something to get excited about because, behind the Iron Curtain, things were also stirring.

Only two days previously, the Soviet Union had launched its first-ever Rock festival, in Tbilisi, Georgia. The event lasted from March 8th to March 16th and is often considered a turning point in the history of Soviet and Russian culture.

Speaking of music, back in the UK, while the Shadows held dominion over the LP chart, with their covers album A String of Hits, the singles chart found Fern Kinney supreme with Together We Are Beautiful, a song I still can't sing without it turning into Janet Kay's Silly Games.

Star Wars Weekly #107

I bet you can't wait for me to tell you what happens in this week's pulse-pounding issue.

Neither can I.

Which makes it all the more galling that I don't have a clue what happens in it.

Obviously, the Star Wars gang's present and my keen senses tell me we're also getting the origin of Star-Lord.

From memory, I can't recall whether that origin bears any resemblance to the one in the movies, so I shall choose not to comment upon it.

Spectacular Spider-Man #366

Just to prove my Star Wars ignorance wasn't a fluke, I can proudly announce that I know even less of what goes on in this book.

I do know Spidey's up against Doc Ock but that's all I know.

Doctor Who Weekly #22, Tom Baker

Hooray! I've found a comic of whose contents I'm not totally ignorant.

It looks like we've got the finale to the Fourth Doctor strip The Space Beast in which our hero finds a way to render harmless the bomb that's been implanted in his stomach.

He does this by wrapping the lead from a woman's roof around himself, in order to block off the detonation signal.

And that kind of improvisational thinking is why he's the greatest hero in the universe.

We also get an adaptation of The First Men in the Moon as scripted by Don McGregor.

It would appear there's also a text adaptation of the William Hartnell story The Time Meddler which famously featured the first appearance of a TARDIS other than that owned by the Doctor.

And, to wrap it all up, we get more from The Twilight of the Silurians.

Hulk Weekly #54, the Black Knight

It's a strange cover which highlights this week's Black Knight tale, rather than one featuring the book's actual star - and doesn't even include the Knight anyway, meaning he has to be added as a near-afterthought.

As for the insides, the Fantastic Four finally get to have their first-ever encounter with the Hulk who proceeds to flatten them.

In a more modern tale, set in Canada, Sasquatch is preparing to confront the Hulk.

Back in the USA, an amnesiac Beast's hanging around with Unus, the Blob and Mastermind who are tricking him into robbing the house of someone wealthy.

Higher up, the Silver Surfer's flown into the future, in order to thwart Galactus' Space Barrier.

And the Defenders are enduring their 85th consecutive week of trying to rescue Jack Norriss from Scorpio.

Tuesday 10 March 2020

The Marvel Lucky Bag - March 1980.

The Marvel Lucky Bag. Just how lucky will it be for us this month?

There's only one way to find out.

And this is that way.

Marvel Treasury Edition #25, Hulk vs Spider-Man

Weren't the 1980 Winter Olympics held at Lake Placid?

If so, never has a place been less appropriately named because, judging by that cover, there's nothing placid about it.

And, also, is this a brand new story, written purely for this treasury edition? If so, I would've thought that makes it a special beast indeed.

Whatever the truth of the matter, it seems to involve the Mole Man, Kala and various other underground and geologically-based foes.

Beyond that, I can say little, other than the cover's by Al Milgrom and Jack Abel, and the insides are by Happy Herb Trimpe.

Star Wars King-Size Annual #1, Walt Simonson

At last! Sci-fi's mightiest franchise gets its own annual, a mere three years after Marvel started doing tales about it!

Given the importance of the licence in keeping the company alive, it does seem odd that it took so long for Marvel to accord it the honour.

Regardless, I do believe that's a Walt Simonson cover and that it featured, very recently, on the front of Marvel UK's Star Wars comic.

King Conan #1, Marvel Comics, Thoth-Amon

Not content with having two comics, Conan now has three!

Bearing in mind he was allowed to have so many books, we must conclude he was a man who knew how to shift comics. It's a remarkable achievement, considering he only had about two stories, which got repeated endlessly with the names changed.

I know nothing of what happens in this tale but I do know this issue includes a feature in which Roy Thomas talks about the history of Conan since the early 1930s and reveals his plans for the future of the strip.

Needless to say, John Buscema is the artist on this book.

Marvel Two-In-One #61, the Thing and Starhawk, Her

I do believe the grammatically challenging Her makes her senses-shattering - and gender-bending - debut when former Hulk foe Paragon transforms himself into a female version of Adam Warlock.

I'm not sure how The Thing and Starhawk come to be involved.

Marvel Spotlight #5, Dragon Lord

I've no previous knowledge of this story's existence but it features dragons and it's from the pencil of Steve Ditko. It is, therefore, guaranteed to intrigue me.

Apparently, it's about a modern-day technology expert who defeats his monstrous foe, with the aid of a barbecue grill, which is not what I would have guessed from either the cover or the strip's title.

The internet informs me the tale was meant to be a Godzilla story but had to be rewritten and redrawn when Marvel lost the rights to the character.

Whether Godzilla was defeated, in the original version, by a barbecue grill, I could not say.

Sunday 8 March 2020

Forty years ago today - March 1980.

There was once a cinema newsreel series called The March of Time which covered the events of the day and ended each report with the words, "Time marches on!"

And you know what? It was right.

So, let's fling ourselves into that very march.

But not the March of Time.

The March of 1980.

Even though, admittedly, none of these comics actually came out in March.

Avengers #93, Inferno

The steelworker who fell into a huge big cauldron, along with a chunk of Thor's hammer, is still on the rampage and out for revenge against the people responsible for him falling in.

Can the Avengers stop him?

No, they can't.

I bet the FF would've stopped him.

And Thor.
Conan the barbarian #108

It's more of the usual; Conan rescuing a damsel in distress and seeing off various menaces along the way.

Captain America #243

An evil but enfeebled zillionaire steals one of SHIELD's LMDs so he can have his brain transplanted into it.

Unfortunately, it all goes horribly wrong!

And it's Captain America who's going to have to sort out the mess!

Incredible Hulk #245

The Hulk heads back to Gamma Base or Hulkbuster Base or whatever it's called this week, in an attempt to retrieve Jarella's body and return it home.

But, to do that, he'll have to see off Glenn Talbot who's decided to put on a Mandroid suit and slug it out with him.

And, if that's not enough, now Captain Marvel shows up!

Spectacular Spider-Man #40, Spider-Lizard

Still trapped in the form of Spider-Lizard, our now-brainless hero goes berserk in New York City - and only Curt Connors can stop him!

Uncanny X-Men #131, the White Queen

I think this is the one where Phoenix and the White Queen have a completely one-sided fight which blows up half the neighborhood and causes Scott to start worrying about Jean's power-levels.

Iron Man #132, the Hulk

Having turned Bruce Banner permanently into a permanently angry Hulk - in a totally useless attempt to cure him - Iron Man now has to work out a way to stop the brute.

Thor #293

Weirdest story of the month has to go to Thor who has to fight a giant eyeball to find out just what the link is between Odin and the Celestials.

Daredevil #163, the Hulk

The Hulk's busy this month. Not only is he tangling with Iron Man but he has to take on Daredevil.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "But, Steve, how can DD possibly take on the Hulk?"

And the answer is he can't. He has about as much luck against Hulkie as he once did against the Sub-Mariner.

Amazing Spider-Man #202, the Punisher

Spidey and the Punisher take on some minor crooks in a tale I can claim to know little of.

Fantastic Four #216

After being mugged, a scientist friend of Reed Richards turns himself into a Watcher-type being, teams up with Blastaar, un-teams up with Blastaar and then leaves the Earth behind, in search of better things.


Thursday 5 March 2020

March 5th, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Other than Robert Mugabe taking over leadership of Zimbabwe, this week in 1980 was not an eventful one.

I shall, therefore, plough straight ahead with my look at what Marvel UK was up to at that very time.

Incredible Hulk Weekly #53, the Defenders

The FF are still preparing for their first-ever fight with the Hulk.

What they don't know is that Rick Jones has been kidnapped by a commie!

The Black Knight's still defending a castle from someone or other.

The Beast's fallen-in with Unus, the Blob and Mastermind and they've all decided to run away to the circus.

In his main strip, the Hulk's in Canada again - and heading for a showdown with Sasquatch.

And, finally, the Defenders are still trying to rescue Jack Norriss from Scorpio.

You have to say, they're taking their time over it. And to think I thought the Avengers made a meal of their fights with the Sons of the Serpent.

Spectacular Spider-Man Weekly #365, Dr Octopus

I can announce that Spidey's up against Doctor Octopus.

I can also announce nothing else, as the contents of this comic are a baffling enigma to me.

Then again, so are the contents of the Spidey story.

Star Wars Weekly #106

Leia's still telling Luke the tale of how she gained her impressive fighting prowess.

We also get a short interview with Peter Cushing.

Elsewhere, Star-Lord's back and we also get a tale about a group of scientists who decide to fire a man, with an unhappy life, into space, on the grounds that he's got less to lose than happy people do.

Starburst #19, Saturn 3, Star Trek, Black Hole

What's this? Saturn 3 and The Black Hole? In the same issue!

Is there no limit to the treats this magazine is determined to give us?

Rampage Monthly #21, Hulk vs the Cybortron

I have vague memories of the Hulk tale. I think Bruce Banner finds himself in a sinister secret research facility in the desert and, thanks to that, it's not long before the Hulk finds himself up against a robot that's basically a giant puppet.

The X-Men are captured by Black Tom and the Juggernaut.

But fear not! Help is at hand - because the leprechauns are on the case!

I've no idea what the Dr Strange tale involves.

Marvel Superheroes #359, Count Nefaria

Having survived the attack of the Lethal Legion, the Avengers now have to face their boss Count Nefaria.

The original X-Men are up against Magneto.

We get a text feature about Marvel's Golden Age heroes.

And the Champions take on Pluto.

If they hurt him, Mickey Mouse'll be furious.

Doctor Who #21, Tom Baker and Lalla Ward

As if the Doctor unknowingly having a bomb in his stomach, in The Star Beast, isn't bad enough, now it turns out K-9's having an identity crisis and thinks he's a cat.

We get more from the text adaptation of The Chase.

The cover misspells, "Mechonoids." Then again, it's an easy mistake to make.

We get more of Marvel's adaptation of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

We get a pin-up of a mummy from Pyramids of Mars.

And we get a new picture strip called Twilight of the Silurians.

Savage Sword of Conan #29

I don't know what the Conan tale involves - and, to be honest, I'm not totally sure what's going on on that cover - but I do know that included inside is a Red Sonja tale drawn by Frank Thorne.

Frantic #1, Kermit and Miss Piggy

Good grief! Is there no stopping Dez? Not content with all the other books Marvel UK now has, he's only gone and launched another one!

And, this time, it's filled with hilarity, as Frantic makes its, no doubt, side-splitting debut.

This means Marvel UK now has nine publications to its name.

But, no. It doesn't. It has TEN because this week sees the launch of Marvel Superhero Fun and Games. However, I can't find a decent copy of the cover for that, anywhere online.

However, I probably won't be including that one in future editions of this post, as it's just a puzzle book and there's probably not much to say about it.